You lie in the sun hoping to get a golden tan, but instead you end up looking like a lobster that’s been left in the pot too long…
What is sunburn?
Sunburn is a sign that the DNA in your skin has been damaged by too much UV radiation. Getting sunburn, just once every 2 years, can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. Sunburn doesn’t have to be raw, peeling or blistering. If your skin has gone pink or red in the sun, it’s sunburn. For people with darker skin, it may just feel irritated, tender or itchy.
Too much UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds can damage the genetic material (the DNA) in your skin cells. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.
Your body has ways of repairing most of the damage. But it is not perfect, and some damaged DNA can be left behind. Your body’s attempt to repair this damage is what causes the painful symptoms of sunburn.
What to do if you get sunburn?
The first thing you should do is cool it down.
Take frequent cool baths, showers or if you have access to a cold pool, lake or ocean, take a quick dip to cool your skin before you go inside. Then cover up and get out of the sun immediately. Continue to cool the burn with cold compress.
Next moisturize while skin is damp.
While skin is still damp, use a gentle moisturizing lotion (but not petroleum or oil-based ointments, which may trap the heat and make the burn worse.) The best lotion to use is Aloe Vera or soy to help sooth sunburn. Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.
Decrease the Inflammation.
Once you first realize you have sunburn you should take an anti-inflammatory for the discomfort and inflammation. Continue to take them as directed by the bottle until the burn feels better.
Replenish your Fluids.
Sunburn draws fluid to the skins surface and away from the rest of the body which can make you dehydrated. It’s important to re-hydrate by drinking extra liquids including water and sports drinks to replenish your electrolytes.
See a Doctor!
If you or a child has severe blistering, a fever and chills, or are woozy or confused the best thing to do is see a doctor. Don’t scratch or pop blisters, which can lead to infection. Signs of infection include red streaks or oozing pus.
Make sure to read How to Prepare for the Sun to help you not get sunburn next time!
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— Sundance Vacations (@travelsundance) July 25, 2017